4. Jazz on a Summer’s Day (1960)
Take a dive with director Bert Stern in the healing, calming, balming, aquamarine waters of jazz, which no summer heat can beat. It sure looked toasty on this afternoon at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1958, even with the shots of crafts on the breeze-rippled ocean. There is no dialogue, no narration, but there is a lot of pure sound poesy. If colors—and they are rich here—could talk, they would talk in the sounds of jazz, you start to think. I like the confluence element, where Chuck Berry and Big Maybelle are every bit as jazz as Sonny Stitt and Thelonious Monk, which makes a certain amount of sense. You think Monk wasn’t sometimes doing with his piano licks what Berry was riffing away at in the starts of his songs?